Group forms to block voter-approved charter schools

December 6, 2012 in Blog

The election results are barely certified for voter-approved Initiative 1240, the most hopeful education reform passed in Washington in decades. Opponents have formed a group to prevent children in need from attending a charter school. A new group called Protect Our Public Schools (POPS) has announced its creation as an affiliate of a national group that works against education reform in the states (see announcement below).

Washington school districts allowed to isolate children in padded cells and tie their limbs together

November 30, 2012 in Blog

KOMO News and Q13 Fox are reporting that schools in Washington are using padded cells to isolate special needs children who misbehave. Responding to public outrage, the Longview School District just announced it will discontinue the practice. The Burlington School District defends use of this practice.

Group calls for closing low-performing charter schools

November 29, 2012 in Blog

Today’s Seattle Times reports that the National Association of Charter School Authorizers says that states with weak charter laws should strengthen their laws to shut down their low-performing charter schools. Fortunately Washington's brand-new charter law is one of the strongest laws in the country.

Kate Martin on children who cannot add, subtract, multiply and divide in Washington’s schools

November 20, 2012 in Blog

Yesterday, Dick Nelson of Crosscut, an online newspaper, posted an article about education reform groups supported by business in Washington state. The article attracted an excellent comment from Kate Martin, which you can read in full here (see fifth comment down, labeled "Editor's Pick).

Charter schools win in Washington state

November 12, 2012 in Blog

Saturday afternoon the Initiative 1240 campaign announced that voters have approved the charter school measure. Opponents refuse to concede until every vote is counted, but this morning the Secretary of State’s website shows that with 91% of the vote counted, Yes votes exceed No votes by 44,193, gaining over the numbers reported on Saturday.

Coming to a school near you: A charter school that prepares students for a job with Microsoft, Amazon, Boeing?

November 5, 2012 in Blog

If Initiative 1240 passes tomorrow, education entrepreneurs will be able to use the charter school model to develop authentically innovative ways to motivate and educate high-school students. One great example of a new idea in education is PTech High charter school, which opened in New York City on September 8, 2011 with a class of ninth- graders.  The school will run for six years, from grade nine to grade 14.

Losing the charter school debate? Just invent some numbers

October 30, 2012 in Blog

There’s a joke among policy researchers that if you can’t find the numbers to support your conclusion just make some up.  642 sounds nice.  432,396 looks impressive in many cases.  How about 100 million?  Now that’s a nice round number. 

But it’s distressing when the invent-a-number game goes beyond humor and is used in the public debate over serious issues, like whether Initiative 1240 to allow charter schools would help struggling school children. 

Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, will not raise your taxes

October 29, 2012 in Blog

The official Voters Guide to Initiative 1240, the charter school initiative, is worrying some voters that passing this measure will lead to a tax increase.  This is not an unreasonable fear, but the fact is that Initiative 1240 would not require a tax increase.  

Photo of Washington’s Four Champions of Charter School Freedom — Rep. Eric Pettigrew, Rep. Glenn Anderson, Sen. Rodney Tom and Sen. Steve Litzow

October 24, 2012 in Blog

Last Monday night, over 1,600 people in Bellevue and Spokane attended Washington Policy Center’s annual dinner. At the dinner we gave our 2012 Champion of Freedom award to the four prime co-sponsors of last session's charter school bill: Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), Representative Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue) and Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island).

School board members recruited to oppose I-1240, the charter school reform initiative

October 23, 2012 in Blog

I was disappointed to hear that this week opponents of Initiative 1240, the charter school initiative, are trying to recruit school board members to sign a petition in opposition to the initiative.

Seattle School Board set to vote against charter school Initiative 1240

October 17, 2012 in Blog

Tonight the Seattle School Board will decide on a resolution against Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, which polls show voters are likely to pass in November.  Unfortunately, the Seattle School Board is likely to pass this resolution.  This Board has shown an unwillingness to consider innovative changes to the way schools are run, and it strongly opposes any threat to its top-down, central power over the 93 schools in the district. 

Accommodating a Few Special Schools is Not the Same as Allowing Charter Schools

October 12, 2012 in Blog

On Wednesday, Seattle Times education reporter Linda Shaw wrote an informative piece about the Technology Access Foundation Academy (TAF), a special school in Federal Way that produces good results in preparing minority students for careers in math, science and technology.

Charter school bill sponsors to receive WPC’s 2012 Champion of Freedom Award

September 24, 2012 in Blog

Our board recently announced it is giving this year’s Champion of Freedom Award to the 32 Democratic and Republican lawmakers who sponsored the bill to allow public charter schools in Washington.

The Award will be formally presented on October 15th at our Annual Dinner in Bellevue, simulcast in Spokane, attended by over 1,500 supporters.

The prime sponsors of HB 2428 and SB 6202 will receive special recognition: Representative Eric Pettigrew (D-Seattle), Representative Glenn Anderson (R-Fall City), Senator Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), and Senator Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue).

Are Charter Schools Unconstitutional?

September 20, 2012 in Blog

I’ve been speaking to civic groups about Initiative 1240 and one question I get is whether charter schools are unconstitutional in our state.  As an attorney my first instinct was to write an 80-page brief in response.  But I realized even other attorneys would find that boring, so I came up with something more concise.  Here’s my response.

The main constitutional objections are that charter schools would be run by “corporate boards” and that they would not be under the supervision of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.  

CREDO director says variation in charter school performance can be traced to bad laws

September 19, 2012 in Blog

Opponents of Initiative 1240, the charter school measure, are disseminating a study known as the CREDO study.  We have criticized this cherry-picking here.  Another reason to be wary of this study comes from CREDO’s director, Margaret Raymond.  She now says the variation in charter school performance can be traced to the quality of state laws authorizing and overseeing charter schools.